This retreat has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Because of the ongoing consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be holding this retreat this year. We look forward to offering a week-long sesshin in January 2021.
Characterised by silence and deep introspection, sesshin is recommended to anyone who is sincerely interested in experiencing intensive Zen training and deepening their meditation practice. Sesshin is an unbroken stream of aware spiritual practice, with wake up each day before dawn to begin a schedule that includes 7 to 10 hours of zazen, chanting services, formal silent meals (oryoki) in the zendo (meditation hall), silent caretaking (e.g. preparing meals or cleaning), and talks by the teacher and senior students. Sesshin is an opportunity to receive personal guidance in private interviews (dokusan) with the teacher, Shugen Roshi. During sesshin we draw from the tremendous strength and encouragement of practising together as a group.
Because the week-long sesshin is a very intensive retreat, those wishing to attend the full week should have prior experience in meditation. Those who have never participated in a sesshin or who are newer to Zen practice/meditation are encouraged to join in, however we recommend beginning on Thursday for the shortest portion of the retreat. This is a great way to get a taste of sesshin and to develop your meditation practice. Sesshin may be joined at any stage during the week, as late as Thursday evening.
If you are a first-time sesshin retreatant, you will be interviewed by phone before confirming your attendance. This is to help ensure that sesshin is a good fit for your personal circumstances. This is especially helpful as once you join sesshin, you are asked to stay until the conclusion of the retreat (2.30pm Saturday).
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi is the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order, abbot and resident teacher of Zen Mountain Monastery, and abbot of the Zen Center of New York City. Shugen has been in full-time residential zen training since 1986; he received dharma transmission from Daido Roshi in 1997. He has visited New Zealand to lead Zen Buddhist retreats and workshops for many years, and currently offers a programme in Nelson each July.
• warm sleeping bag, pillow, (earplugs optional)
• woollen hat and gloves
• outdoor clothing and footwear for outside work practice
• loose-fitting clothing for meditation, dark or muted in colour. Shirts should cover the shoulders (e.g. T-shirt and shirts). Please wear long trousers rather than shorts.
Please note that Lake Rotoiti is in a sub-alpine region and does get very cold, especially overnight. Bring plenty of extra layers to ensure you are warm enough for indoor and outdoor work.